- Hardcover: 512 pages
- Publisher: Henry Holt & Company; 1st Edition edition (Oct. 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0805064222
- ISBN-13: 978-0805064223
- Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 3.9 x 24.5 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,346,274 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Good German Hardcover – 1 Oct 2001
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Magnificent (Minette Walters)
Kanon writes for grown-ups, not for day-dreamers. That's why he is so good. (Allan Massie, THE SCOTSMAN)
Provocative, fully realised fiction that explores, as only fiction can, the reality of history as it is lived by individual men and women. (NEW YORK TIMES)
A story of wondrous humanity in the face of insane savagery (SPECTATOR) --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
July 1945. The Allies are posturing amongst the ruins of Berlin and marking out their territory for what will be the boundaries of the Cold War. And no German admits to being a Nazi, especially those whose skills can be sold to one side or the other. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
I enjoyed this book more than most I have read in recent years. This is my first review on line - I've written it because I got such pleasure from this book!
The shades of gray that dominated the conduct of The Allies immediately following the end of hostilities, and the repercussions that would follow for decades, is brilliantly set side by side with conduct during the war. Mr. Kanon never minimizes any of the horror that took place; he questions none of the atrocities that were committed. He does bring post-war reality to his tale that cannot be said to match the actions of The Third Reich; he does however absolutely portray conduct on all sides, which traditional history would rather marginalize. Nothing is ever as simple as it seems, and while there were episodes of good versus evil, and events that were black and white, inconvenient shades of gray were everywhere.Read more ›
The picture created by the author of the time in Berlin immediately after the end of the war captures the confusion, betrayal and degredation that must have been an issue for millions. It does a lot to highlight that many who were victims in the war, also became victims of the peace and that the so called peace keepers were not always squeaky clean themselves, enusring that their own interests were foremost. Little is ever mentioned of the suffering that people endure in the immediate aftermath of a war but this book certainly depicts some of the harrowing circumstances that people had to live with in this time and how they tried to survive.
One criticism that I do have is that Lena, who has been brutally assaulted by the Russians when they arrived in Berlin and recently had an abortion, seems to make a miraculous recovery to resume her relationship with Jake. I can understand that this may be for the purpose of the book, but it is unlikely that this would happen in real-life.
Characterisation of the main protagonists in the book is good - I wonder how many of these characters, and how much of the storyline, will have to be left out of the film version.
His search through the ruins, the alleyways, intent on finding his love of the happier pre-war days is increasingly desparate. Is she still alive? Where would she be? Finding a person in those early after-war months in Germany was almost impossible; no records were available, the houses where they had lived often destroyed and no forwarding address - unless you got really lucky. Kanon's description of Berlin is accurate - based on visits to the modern Berlin and his in depth research of the Berlin of 1945 and the changes since then. You could easily use it as a tour guide of a different kind.
But, of course that is not the story. The story of the returning US journalist and his German girlfriend represents the red thread through the book. Her family is mixed in with the plot. The description of day-to-day life gives the story reality and perspective. People do a lot for a package of cigarettes.
The story unfolds slowly, a hushed-up murder, and many dead-end leads. But things turn out to be a lot more complex as you go: more deaths and threats, intrigue and false allies. And the tension grows. It is a thriller after all: a thriller with political messages as well as interesting character developments.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A real page turner. A very good thriller and an amazing amount of detail which invokes the febrile atmosphere of immediate post war Berlin in 1945. I enjoyed it.Published 5 months ago by Lesley
It is OK, but there was something about it that left me dissatisfied. Maybe it reminded me of other books by different authors; maybe it was that I just found the plot implausible. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Andrew Poole
A fine, atmospheric, thriller. One of his better books and very enjoyable. It captures the essence of post war Berlin and integrates it well with the story and plot. Read morePublished 7 months ago by bruce smith
I only discovered Kanon after being passed a copy of "Leaving Berlin" - what a great find. I have since read a further 2 books of his and really enjoyed them. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Patrick